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The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer

News/Business. Wolf Blitzer. Traditional reporting and online resources update international news. New.

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CNN

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02:00:00

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Annapolis, MD, USA

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Comcast Cable

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Port 1234

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mpeg2video

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mp2

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720

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480

TOPIC FREQUENCY

Libya 52, Da 43, Gadhafi 41, Nato 40, U.s. 39, Moammar Gadhafi 20, Us 18, United States 14, America 10, London 10, Obama 8, Reuters 6, Ben 6, Steven Chu 6, Ben Wedeman 5, U.n. 5, Bashar Assad 5, Musa Kusa 4, Advair 4, Clinton 4,
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  CNN    The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer    News/Business. Wolf Blitzer. Traditional reporting  
   and online resources update international news. New.  

    March 30, 2011
    5:00 - 7:00pm EDT  

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bill pasqual of new jersey, an american-italian congressman. he says he didn't think it's damaging to the images of either place, end of story, so there you go. >> unlike chris christie he says it's just a tv show. >> yeah. >> okay. >> he hasn't seen the show though. >> he hasn't seen the show. >> he hasn't seen the show. >> very important note there, addendum. joe johns, thank you so much. i'm here in atlanta. brooke baldwin. now to wolf blitzer in washington. wolf? >> breaking news, libyan rebels in retreat as moammar gadhafi's forces crank up their firepower. this hour president obama secretly may be ready to give the rebels more help. stand by. there's breaking news. also, syria's president fails to give anti-government protesters any hope of significant reform. his rambling speech now unleashing new anger and unrest throughout syria. new tests show soaring radiation levels in the water near japan's
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crippled nuclear power plant. i'll ask the energy secretary steven chu what the obama administration is doing to prevent a japan-like disaster here in the united states. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." we begin with breaking news. cnn has confirmed that the libyan foreign minister musa kusa has resigned his position. he showed up in london today. the british foreign office telling cnn in a statement that musa kusa arrived in london and told the british government he has resigned his position as libyan foreign minister, a dramatic development today, a senior source, senior official close to moammar gadhafi clearly showing up in london and resigning, as we know, so many libyan ambassadors, including a libyan ambassador here in washington, d.c. the libyan ambassador here at united nations, libyan ambassadors in other countries earlier had stepped aside, had
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broken with gadhafi, but now it looks like musa kusa, the foreign minister, has broken with gadhafi. here's the question. does this signal a significant crack in the inner circle surrounding moammar gadhafi? we're staying on top of this story. ben wedeman is joining us now embedded with rebel forces in eastern libya. ben, let me get your quick reaction. musa kusa, someone familiar to a lot of us who have covered libya over the years, if in fact he's now split with gadhafi. how significant would that be? >> reporter: well, it does represent a fairly significant blow to moammar gadhafi. this was a senior official, and even though shortly after the outbreak of the revolt in libya, there was a string of resignations of ambassadors, for instance, for the libyan ambassadors around the world. the justice minister has
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defected, so two of the anti-gadhafi forces, so certainly the foreign minister defecting is significant. is it critical? i don't think so because clearly -- he has a very small circle around him, upon his sons, each of which has a military unit, so it's a blow, but i don't think it's a critical blow to moammar gadhafi. >> and at the same tame as we take a look at all of this, ben, the rebels, and you're embedded with rebel forces, they seem to be clearly on the defense right now. they have lost a lot of ground over the past 48 hours in the face of this major libyan gadhafi offensive. >> reporter: yeah. what we're seeing is actually something of a change of tactics by the libyan army before they were very dependent upon heavy armored tanks, heavy artillery.
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now it appears that they are depending more on small mobile units that, for instance, today ambushed outside of brega to the west of brega, and that caused a panic among the rebel forces even though eyewitnesses say they were ambushed by just a couple dozen men and people who were ambushed had very heavy machine guns and they just caused panic in the ranks and we saw they came straight in to ajdabiya where they seem to be regrouping at the moment but yet again this underscores the disorganization and sort of the institutional chaos among rebels who simply are not able to hold ground and really move forward very much. certainly my colleague arwa damon followed the rebels to bin
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jawad which from here is about a two-hour drive but the forces have easily driven them back and despite the fact that, of course, they now essentially have cover. there's a no-fly zone over libya, and the nato aircraft have taken out much of the heavy army of the libyan army, the armo but that doesn't seem to really put a dent in their ability to send the rebels where they want. >> i want you to stand by, ben. reuters is reporting that president obama has signed a secret order authorizing covert support for rebel forces. i want to talk to ben wedeman about that. let's talk about that also with retired u.s. army general george jalwan, the nato allied supreme commander. if in fact this is true that the president in recent days, maybe the past week or two, signed a covert action order, a finding,
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as they call it, to secretly assist the rebels who are fighting gadhafi's forces, what does that say to you? >> first of all, i have no knowledge of whether he signed a finding or not. it may be one of two things, may be an actual sort of action or it could be keep pressure on gadhafi to really feel the heat that he's feeling now with the resignation of his foreign minister and also with what i think is what is happening in london where the international community is very much united in what needs to be done. >> for all practical purposes the coalition, now nato control, they -- they have taken aside in this civil war, they want to help the rebels and see gadhafi go, even though the u.n. security council resolution didn't go that far as we all know. here's the question. if in fact the president signed a secret finding that goes way beyond what the coalition accepted, including the u.n. security council, how much of a
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wrench does that throw in the nato consensus? how much does it complicate what nato is doing? >> it does to a degree complicate it. but, remember, this is directed at one individual, not at bombing forces which is not included in the u.n. resolution. i think it's a separate -- to me a separate action, how this will affect the coalition and how this will affect the entire nato group, i'm not sure, but will have an impact -- if true, it will have an impact, but i think it will also have an impact on gadhafi, and i think that's intended. >> some of the countries, the nato allies, specifically germany and turkey, are not going to be very happy about this. stand by for a moment. i want to go back to ben wedeman. he's joining us from eastern libya, embedded with the rebel forces. how is this going to play over there? i assume the rebels are getting arms from the outside. we don't know if the president
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of the united states covertly signed this finding authorizing armed shipments directly or incorrectly to the rebels, but i assume they would be thrilled if the president did, ben. >> certainly at this point they are fairly desperate for more help because clearly a no-fly zone is simply not enough to stop the libyan government forces from launching an offensive over here the last two days. in fact today a senior official with the libyan council said they would welcome foreign trainers on the gripping of a change of attitude. initially when we first got here shortly after the outbreak of this revolt, there was a real stress on their desire for no foreign intervention whatsoever, but as the going has gotten tough, certainly they would
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welcome some sort of other involvement to help them turn the tide, so to speak, because at the moment clearly they are simply outgunned, outorganized, out everything. wolf? >> certainly seem like that. apologize for that transmission, but obviously he's in eastern libya. not easy to get any signal out of there to begin with. general jalwan, it looks to me, and you're a former nato supreme allied commander that the pounding of gadhafi's forces from the air, the aerial bomb boardments have eased up over the past 24 to 48 hours as the libyan government and regime have made this offensive. here's the question. now that nato is in command of the aerial strikes, has there been a reduction compared to when the u.s. was strictly in control of the aerial strikes against ground forces loyal to gadhafi? >> yes, in my view, yes. and -- and i think that is now
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because you have a wider coalition involved. nato is involved. nato is a political body, and as you said there are some nations as part of that nato that have had reservations about the conducting of direct air strikes, and so i think you're going to see that. that will play out. the more important thing to me that needs to be understood, even if what i've scene of the rebel army, and your report was made no differently. it's going to take an enormous amount of equipment and training and time to train them up where they could be an effective force, in my view. i think the psychological impact that we're seeing may have more of an effect than what can be done on the ground. >> psychological impact of what -- of the pressure we're putting on, particularly on gadhafi, outlawing him from the international community, if this finding is true. i think all of that will have i think a psychological impact on gadhafi. >> what is your understanding, and this is a little technical.
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we don't know if the president of the united states has signed any finding for that matter but what does the law say about signing a finding to kill a foreign leader, whether bin laden or somebody else? >> we've had findings in the past. i'm sure this has been tested by law. you'd have to ask lawyers about that question, but there have been findings in the past, and -- and, again, the president puts his own signature on this, and he -- he authorizes it, and it's very seldom used, but it has been used, and i think it will continue to be used. >> general joulwan, thank you very much. >> always a pleasure. a couple of breaking news stories that we're following right now. musa kusa, the foreign minister of libya resigning, we're told. we can't confirm that musa kusa arrived in england not that long ago, on march 30th, we're told, from tunisia.
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he traveled there under his own free will. this is a statement coming in from the british government and the british statement goes on to say. he told us he's resigning his post. we're discussing this with him and will release further detail in due course. that official statement coming in from the uk foreign office just a little while ago. significant development. a close adviser and aide to moammar gadhafi stepping down. the other story that we're working on, the reuters report, that the president of the united states has signed a finding, a covert action to support the libyan rebels who are fighting gadhafi. much more on this part of the story coming up as well. this, the first day that nato is now in direct control of all of the military operations in libya, and you just heard general joulwan say that that suggests that the pounding of gadhafi's positions probably easing up somewhat as a result of nato not the united states being in charge. nato is a coalition. they act by consensus, and
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certain nato allies like germany and turkey and a few others, they are not very anxious to take sides, direct sides, in this war. syria, meanwhile, its president has been confronted by anger and protests. we're also following the backlash in syria after bashar al asawed failed to lift a state of emergency. will syria be the next middle eastern nation to explode? plus, the state of moammar gadhafi's regime now that his foreign minister is calling it quits, and president obama is defending nuclear power in the united states despite the crisis in japan. i'll speak with his energy secretary steven chu. we'll talk about the risks that may be keeping him up at night. stay with us.
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much more on the situation in libya coming up, including the resignation from the foreign minister musa kusa. a top aide to mom movement all of a sudden showing up in london and saying he is resigning as the foreign minister of moammar gadhafi. also, this reuters report that there has been a secret finding, supposedly signed by president obama authorizing covert action to help the rebels fighting gadhafi. much more on those stories coming up. meanwhile, anti-government
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protesters on the march in syria accusing president bashar assad to be part of a conspiracy. he failed to lift a state of emergency in his widely anticipated address to the nation, and after the speech at least one person was killed in clashes between demonstrators and security forces. cnn's mohammed jamjoom is reporting on the middle east unrest. it's been several hours since president assad's address. what's the reaction coming in from syria to the opposition? >> wolf, to put it simply, it's a reaction of profound disappointment. so many of the activists, the opposition figures that we spoke with, the anti-government demonstrators, they were expecting something much more from president bashar assad today. they expected him to at least announce more reforms, at least announce when this emergency law would be lifted. they got none of what they were expecting. they say that this didn't measure up even at all to what they thought would happen.
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because of that, they are very disappointed. now, many of them said they didn't expect it would live up to their expected certainly, but they didn't think it would be this much of a disappointment. wolf? >> obviously it doesn't look like he learned from the experience of president hosni mubarak. at least that was my initial reaction and expectations would be at least he would lift the state of emergency that's been in business, as you say, since 1963. everyone thought he would do that. he didn't do that, and that's going to generate, as you correctly point out, widespread anger, so what is the opposition in syria planning on doing next? >> the opposition telling us now that they plan to continue protesting. this is significant, not just because it's remarkable that people are coming out day after day in the streets of various syrian towns in a country with an authoritarian regime like that, but because these people know, the people we're speaking with know that they are putting their lives at risk. they anticipate another crackdown. they are saying that they don't
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think that they will get the reforms that they have been promised. they don't believe the government. what has been promised so far is too little too late. now, the government keeps countering with pictures of pro government rallies going on in damascus, but the people we're speaking with in the streets there in towns like latakia, protests in the town of daraa, they say they will continue to come out and are calling for protests again on friday. they say that no matter what the government says they are going to do, they feel that they did not get what they were promised, that bashar assad has promised reforms for ten years now. what he's saying now too little too late. they are going to keep coming out. they are going to keep demonstrating, no matter the ramifications or no matter what they might face. wolf? >> mohammed jamjoom is watching all of this unfold in the middle east and north africa. thanks very much. let's check in with cnn's political analyst gloria borger right now who is watching all of this unfold. i'm going to play a couple of sound bites, gloria.
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this is the secretary of state hillary clinton sound on "face the nation" when she was asked about bashar al assad, and is he the real thing as far as a reformer is concerned or not? listen to this. >> there's a different leader in syria now. many of the members of congress of both parties who have gone to syria in recent months have said they believe he's a reformer. >> all right. we didn't hear any of that, so let's see if we can queue that up one more time so that our viewers can hear it. here is the secretary of state on sunday. play it. >> there's a different leader in syria now. many of the members of congress of both parties who have gone to syria in recent months have said they believe he's a reformer. >> wow, a lot of people, they heard her say they feel bashar assad is a reformer quoting some members of congress. they got crazy, gloria.
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she was asked about that tuesday at a news conference in london and she clarified. >> backtracked, yeah. >> i referenced opinions of others. i was not speaking either for myself or for the administration. >> all right. she got a lot of grief. >> she did. >> for saying that and she was clearly referring to some members of congress who have been to damascus, including senator john kerry, the chairman of the foreign relations committee who has come back and given these private briefings to the white house, to the state department, suggesting that bashar al assad might be moving in the right direction. >> not so much. >> well, he didn't seem to be showing that today at least. >> he didn't today, and i spoke with a senior administration official who clarified it even further. he said, look, we know he's aspired to be a reformer. he says that he is a reformer, but if you listen to that speech today, they were as disappointed as the opposition seemed to be today because they said, look, it fell far short of what anyone
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had expected, of even what he had promised. they would have liked to see the lifting of emergency law, maybe the release of political prisoners, but didn't see anything, wolf. they said, look, they didn't live up to our expectations and what he said he would do. the question is are we knife, american officials who went over there and met with him, knife about where he said he would actually be. >> a lot of people wonder about bashar assad. he's the son of hafez al assad and had no problem killing a lot of fellow syrians when they revolted back to him in '82, killed tens of thousands of syrians. they were expecting more from him and certainly aren't getting it. i gets question is did the secretary of state buy in to that notion that john kerry and others had? >> she may have bought in, but i don't think anymore, wolf. i think given the speech today nobody has any question about
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where assad really stands. i think the big question out there is whether we would use, we would intervene in any way and talking to people in the administration, no, no, no. there's a big difference between libya right now where an army was advancing, about to have a humanitarian crisis and what you're seeing right now in syria. >> all right, gloria, thanks very much. much more on syria coming up. also much more on the breaking news out of libya coming up. just ahead, the latest on a new report that president obama has authorized secret u.s. help to help the rebel forces fighting gadhafi. plus, supreme court justice antonin scalia reportedly fined for causing a four-car accident. details of that coming up as well.
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more breaking news out of libya coming up. let's check in with kate balduan monitoring other stories. >> a brief update on a supreme court justice but not normally what you would hear me updating. supreme court justice antonin scalia has reportedly been fined $90 following a minor fender-bender. according to the "washington post" scalia rear-ended one car triggering a four-car chain reaction. the accident happened yesterday. you'll remember that is the same day that the court was hearing arguments in the walmart workplace discrimination case. actor george cooney could testify in italian prime minister silvio berlusconi's sex trial next week. they confirm the hollywood star
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is on a list of potential witnesses cited as being a guest as one of berlusconi's dinner. berlusconi faces charges of paying a minor for sex. and finally, a whale that killed a seaworld trainer appeared in front of an audience today for the first time since that fatal incident accident during a february 2010 show. a trainer drowned after the orca grabbed her pony tail and pulled her under the water. that was -- i remember that story very well. that was very, very sad, and the orca has been out of commission basically since until today so back in performance, i guess. >> everything is smooth. >> thanks. >> there's much more of breaking news in libya, a new report saying president obama has authorized secret government support for the opposition in libya. we'll have more details coming in, and senators getting briefed right now on the military operations in libya. are all their questions getting answered? i'll ask a key u.s. senator just
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out of the meeting. that's coming up.
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let's follow the breaking news this hour. libya's civil war, britain now confirming that moammar gadhafi's foreign minister is in london. he has resigned his post saying he can't and won' represent the libyan government anymore. reuters, meanwhile, is reporting that president obama has signed a secret order authorizing support for the rebels fighting to remove moammar gadhafi. nato and coalition members have raised concerns that any weapons they give to rebels might wind up helping al qaeda. let's bring in our foreign affairs correspondent jill doherty. she's working this part of the story for us. jill? >> hey, wolf. you know, the administration says that the rebels are a mixed bag of groups united by one thing, and that is they want moammar gadhafi out. but just because they do, does that mean that the u.s. should support them or even arm them? that's what this administration has been debating. freedom fighters, al qaeda sympathizers, just who are libya's rebels? colonel moammar gadhafi calls
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them terrorists. >> of course, gadhafi would say that. like any propaganda there's a small element of truth in it, but, you know, this rebellion is much large sneer nato's top commander concedes there are flickers of al qaeda in their ranks. >> i don't have details sufficient to say that there's a significant al qaeda presence or any other terrorist presence in and amongst these folks. >> reporter: but a spokesman for the rebels said wednesday any fighters were al qaeda links have cut off ties. secretary of state hillary clinton twice has met with the head of the rebels' interim national council, a university of pittsburgh educated lawyer, mahm 0 d jabril. >> we don't know as much as we would like to know or expect to know. >> reporter: the rebels are retreating and begging the west for help. >> we don't have arms at all.
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>> they have made requests for arms and requests for a whole range of things, and on each of those issues we have said that we would -- we would consider that. >> reporter: president obama is cautious, telling cbs -- >> that's why i think it's important for us not to jump in with both feet but carefully consider what are the goals of the opposition, what kind of transition do they want to bring about inside of libya? >> a former u.s. army captain in afghanistan and iraq says mr. obama should not fall into the trap of supporting rebel leaders who simply say everything the u.s. wants to hear. >> but it's really important to assess carefully not just who looks good on television but who has the most guns at their back. >> and another red flag for this administration. back in the 1980s in afghanistan the u.s. armed the mujahadin who were fighting the soviets, and we know one of them was osama bin laden. wolf? >> jill doherty at the state
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department, thanks very much. let's get back to the breaking news out of libya and discuss it with the retired general joulwan, the former nato supreme commander. how concerned should the u.s. be that there might be al qaeda fighters among the rebel supporters? >> we have to be very careful about who comes to power. remember, this was a source of terrorists from 9/11, and so i think very to be very careful here, and we need to assess all that before providing arms or whatever other equipment we're going to give them. >> 15 of the 19 9/11 terrorists were saudis. were there any libyans, i don't remember? >> i understand that some of the terrorists were libyan. >> some of the actual 19? >> well, let me backtrack by saying those involved in terrorist acts have come from libya. >> we know that, and we know that a lot of the al qaeda who operated in iraq against u.s.
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forces came from libya in certain areas of libya. i think that's why the nato commander, the current nato commander suggest there had may be slivers of al qaeda elements still in libya with the opposition. >> but we should be very cautious here as we go forward. i think we need to understand what our long-term objective is, what is the end state we want to achieve here, and what sort of government is going to follow moammar gadhafi? >> easier said than done? >> right. >> general, thanks very much. >> thank you. much more of the breaking news coming up on libya. we'll assess that. also, could the nuclear crisis now crippling japan ever be repeated here in the united states? the energy secretary in the obama administration, steven chu, he's here in "the situation room." he'll answer your questions. also, several nba players are raising money for relief efforts in japan following the deadly earthquake and tsunami.
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>> i'm al horford of the atlanta hawks, and can you make an impact of the people of japan. >> my agent thought it would be a good idea for a lot of us players get involved and help with the japan relief fund so i was excited about it and told them to count me in. it's very sad what's going on over there, and i can imagine it's much worse actually being there and having to deal with everything. a lot of professional athletes do things every day to impact their community and help. i'm trying to do the most i can. join the movement impact your world, cnn.com/impact. what does it take to fly? it takes knowing we have our work cut out for us. but if you run before the wind you can't take off. you've got to turn into it. the thing you push against lifts you up. so, every challenge is a chance to show that even in this crazy world of no liquids and route cancellations someone still has the passenger's back.
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members of the u.s. senate are due to be briefed this hour on the mission in libya. some members got a -- some house members got a similar update hours ago. our senior congressional
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correspondent dana bash is here in "the situation room." dana, what are you hearing about the briefings and what are we learning? >> reporter: the senate briefing is going on as we speak. i just came from the capitol where house members, all house members, got a chance to ask senior members of the administration, hillary clinton and others, the questions that they said that they really wanted to ask, and from talking to many lawmakers coming out, this is classified, but, still, many lawmakers said that they actually didn't feel like they got a whole lot new but interestingly, probably not surprisingly, one of the main topics of discussion was the question of whether or not to arm the rebels in libya and what i'm told by multiple lawmakers administration officials made clear no decision has been made but i'm told they got an earful from both members of congress. take a listen. >> in that complex, tribal patchwork that makes up this insurgency that's very uncoordinated, there are significant amount of air defense systems that are portable that are on the ground that we know just for public
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discourse. we now know that there are islamic radicals who are coming in to join with this as well as islamic radicals in eastern libya, a hotbed of recruitment of jihadists to head to afghanistan and iraq who may in fact get access to very dangerous weapons that could be used elsewhere. >> given the current economic climate, dana, i suspect there are lots of questions about the financial cost of this operation. >> there were, a lot of questions. defense secretary gates said very clearly this. he said that operational costs for the no-fly zone so far have been $550 million, and that ultimately it's going to cost $40 million per month to maintain the no-fly zone. the key thing is how long that's going to last, the administration officials briefly made clear there is no time line. they just don't know how long that money will be spent or how long this mission will last. >> is he advertising basically that they won't use a lot more tomahawk cruise missiles, for example, because each one of those costs about $1.5 million apiece. >> it does sound like that because you're right, it costs a
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lot of money. i think that the pentagon and you know this as well as i do made clear that the costs up front would be very high because of all the tomahawk missiles to try to get rid of gadhafi's assets on the ground and that these costs are mostly fuel and supporting the planes that are in the air. >> and it also assumes that the u.s. won't lose another 15 or f-16s because that could be 50 or 75 or even $1 million more per plane. >> exactly right, and on that note going forward, one of the other things i was told, wolf, by multiple lawmakers in both parties coming out is that there was intense, intense frustration vented from administration officials about the fact they didn't come to congress. one lawmakers actually said hillary clinton told them if you don't -- even if you don't approve anything going forward, even if you have a resolution, we still feel that we're on solid legal footing going forward without congress' approval at all. listen to what one of the president's fellow democrats said about that. >> we're not talking about
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consultation, we're talking about authorization and secretary clinton said well, that question has been debated for decades and the administration and its lawyers believe that they had ample constitutional legal constitutional grounds to stand on. for my part i don't think that's an adequate answer. >> again, that's a liberal dpemt. we're hearing the same thing from some of the most conservative lawmakers in congress. they don't feel that it's right that the administration is going forward without congress' approval. >> strange alliance going on. >> yes, it is. >> on the hill. protecting their congressional instincts, to be sure. could the nuclear crisis we're seeing in japan ever occur here in the united states? you're going to want to hear what the energy secretary steven chu is saying about that. stand by. [ male announcer ] escape convention.
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with atelvia, the mornings are all mine.. talk to your doctor about new atelvia. there's also breaking news in japan's nuclear crisis. international watchdogs are reporting high radiation levels outside the evacuation zone around the daiichi nuclear power plant. they are urging japan to consider evacuating the town of
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etati. officials are denying radioactive material found in sea water is a problem even though levels are 3,000 higher than normal. president obama today spoke of reducing american dependance on oil and he gave kudos to his energy secretary steven chu. chu is the right guy to do this. he's got a nobel prize in physics. he actually deserved his nobel prize. and this is the kind of thing that he likes to do for fun on the weekend, and he goes into his garage and tinkers around and figures out how to extract natural gas. >> joining us now, the aforementioned energy secretary steven chu. mr. secretary, thanks very much
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for joining us. >> thank you. great to be here. >> is the president right that you actually deserved the nobel price? he didn't necessarily deserve his? >> well, i think he deserved his, but he's being very gracious, you know. remains -- i think i do, but, you know, you'd have to ask the other scientists. >> all right. it's nice to be praised by the president of the united states like that. >> yes. >> let's get to some very serious issues now. so many people, not only in japan and around the world, including here in the united states, are worried about the nuclear disaster that has occurred in japan. there are 104 nuclear reactors here in the united states. almost all of them, at least 20 or 30 years old. many of them, they are old, old equipment, old safety standards. the question to you is this. could what happened in japan happen here in the united states? >> well, we think it's highly unlikely. one of the things the american public should understand is even after a reactor -- there's
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constant upgrades to reactors as we learn more about them and realize we can make them still safer, and this is continuing, and it will continue, especially any lessons learned in japan, we will constantly upgrade the safety of our reactors where warranted. >> because the japanese were about as well prepared, if not better prepared, than any other place on earth to deal with nuclear reactors, probably better prepared than even the united states was, but look at what's going on. there are we right to be deeply concerned about these 104 nuclear reactors in the united states? >> well, i -- i first i don't want to get into a comparison whether the japanese reactors are safer than the united states. i will say to the american public that when we design a reactor, and when we build them and as we learn more about them, the design basis is we don't want something that could occur, whether it's a hurricane or a
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tsunami or an earthquake or a combination of a number of things that could lead to a break in the safety system we design so it's unlikely to occur once in every 10,000 years, and we -- we are constantly vigilant in the safety of our current reactors. >> so, can you look into the camera and assure the american public if there's -- forget about an earthquake or a tsunami, if there's a hurricane or a tornado or a flood or a terrorist incident or a complete power outage for that matter, these nuclear reactors will be safe, the spent fuel rods will be safe, we won't have contamination from radiation. >> i can say to the american people that we have safe reactors, and whatever we can do to upgrade the safety we will do. as i emphasized before, we are trying to look at extremely rare events. loss of power is certainly not such a rare event in the sense that that's why there are backup
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generators and generators upon generators to back them up, so i think that the safety of reactors is something we constantly upgrade, but we -- they are safe today. >> because i -- in japan the backup generators, if they had them, they didn't work. is every reactor here in the united statesreactor here in th united states loaded with backup generators, and if they don't work there's other failsafe measures to make sure the spent fuel roads don't explode? >> yes, there are backup generators. generators in japan did work for a while. but there was 40-foot waves that overtook them. again, we designed the reactors so a multitude of things could go wrong. we try to think through the c e combination of events that could happen. we're improving the resistance to the vulnerabilities on a year-by-year basis. >> is it time to get the spent
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fuel rods in a safe, secure facility, even though the president basically abandoned that entire plan? >> well, i think you shouldn't confuse what happens in in a spent fuel pool with long term storage of 10,000 years to a million years. what happens in a nuclear reactor is you have spent reactors. after that you transition to dry cast storage. dry cast storage means air cooled passive storage without maintenance. the nuclear regulatory agency determined that dry cast storage will be safe for half a century or more. this is the option. #. >> as energy secretary, what keeps you up at night? >> what keeps me up at night? well, there are a number of things. i think my primary concern is
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that we need the united states to develop a coherent plan going in the future. we've seen the terrible oil shocks and the hardship it causes on americans. we've seen other things, and so what we think these are likely events. it's happening now. it happened three years ago. and so we need a coherent plan going forward that can give americans a diversity of choices in transportation and energy. we need america to be -- we're in a competition with the rest of the world on developing clean energy technologies. the country an the companies that develop these technologies in the future will own the market. and i want to united states to own the market. those are the things that keep me up, awake at night. these other issues, we are worried about, we're concerned. we're acting responsibly, and we will continue to. >> good luck. we're all counting on you. >> okay. thank you. new video coming into "the situation room" about the battle
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in misrata in libya. we're taking you live for a closer look at what this video tells us about the rebels. standby. and several senators behind closed doors getting the latest classified information on libya. we're going to be talking to one of them just out of that briefing.
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let's go back live to the breaking news in libya in moments. escalating fears of civil war in another african country happening now as well. kate bolduan is monitoring that and other top stories in "the situation room." what is going on? >> so much going on and fighting continuing in the ivory coast. the fighting is intensifying
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between supporters of the country's self declared president and his challenger, who is recognized by the international community as the legitimate leader. control over a number of cities is now shifting hands. the united nations says almost 1 million rez debsidents have fle country and at least 25 people have been killed just this month. another story we're watching today. health officials are trying to determine if a bacterial infection spread intravenously caused the deaths of nine alabama hospital patients. 19 people were affected in total. although the bacteria can prove fatal, investigators haven't yet determined it's to blame. the contaminated i.v. bags have been recalled and no longer pose a threat. very troubling, though. and shocking video of a plane crash, see it right there, caught on tape during an air show in florida. amazingly the pilot and passenger aboard survived. the plane was reportedly having mechanical problems. the pilot managed to push the
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plane toward the water to avoid hitting the sea wall. it's really amazing video, wolf. i hate to see these types of things. >> we're going back to libya in a few moments. standby. nic robertson is on the ground in tripoli. ongoing efforts to convince the world they're winning. we'll check in with nick. also if libyan rebels are armed, how would it all work? [ male a, there's been a lot of talk about fuel efficiency, hybrids, and plug-in vehicles. and we've got cars like that, even trucks. but we can do more. when you buy a chevrolet, we'll invest in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and tree-planting programs across america, reducing carbon emissions by up to 8 million metric tons over the next few years in just one more way, we can proudly say, chevy runs deep. ♪
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to our viewers, you're in "the situation room." happening now, the breaking news we're following. outgunned by moammar gadhafi's forces, libya's rebels are in full retreat. they make an urgent appeal to the allies for heavy weapons as they try to hold the line. this as reuters reports president obama signed a secret order for the rebels. new information is coming. when the fighting started gadhafi's son rushed home to take command of a notorious libyan army unit. new details on what he was doing right here in the united states. and dashed hopes in syria. president bashar al-assad does not give into demands for significant reform. does that set the stage for more bloodshed in syria?
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>> breaking news, political headlines and jeanne moos all straight ahead. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." president obama has said he's not ruling out, he's not ruling in in the arming of the libyan rebels. we're just getting in a statement from the white house on these reports. reports earlier saying there was a secret order signed by the president that ordered authorizing the assistance, covert u.s. government support for rebel forces in libya and only moments ago "the new york times" reporting that the cia is now in libya, aiding rebel forces who are fighting moammar gadha gadhafi. the white house press sec has just issue ad statement saying this -- and i'll read it precisely, as is common practice for this and all administrations, i am not going to comment on intelligence matters. i will reiterate what the president said yesterday, no decision has been made about providing arms to the opposition or to any group in libya.
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we're not ruling it out or in. we're assessing options for assistance we could provide to the libyan people and have consulted directly with the opposition and our international partners about these matters. jay carney, the white house press secretary only moments ago releasing that statement. we're watching this all very, very closely. there's more information coming in as well in addition to the statement from jay carney. we're getting some information from the chief national correspondent, john king, a u.s. intelligence source confirming to cnn that there is a presence of cia operationses, officers in libya right now designed to help the u.s. military in political understanding of what's going on. this source telling john he would not confirm that obama signed a finding on this matter, but yes, we are gathering this
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sbel firsthand, and we are in contact with some opposition entities t source saying. so once again the breaking news, just to reiterate, it is now clear that the united states is directly assisting the libyan rebels in their battle against moammar gadhafi's forces. the extent of that assistance remains unclear. but the u.s. clearly taking sides in the civil war. this will irritate some nato allies. the u.n. security council resolution in 1973 as well as nato allies together with the arab league have is the u.s., the coalition forces do not get involved. they assist in protecting civilians. they enforce a no-fly zone. an arms embargo from air and sea. but they don't directly get involved. clearly there are u.s. intelligence officers and others from britain and france engaged
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with the libyan opposition right now in trying to get rid of gadhafi. there's other breaking news we're following in "the situation room." libya's foreign minister, one o f the top figures in gadhafi's government has flown to london and told british officials he has resigned. that comes as libya's rebels are in full retreat. they're calling it a tactical withdrawl. but the grim reality is gadhafi's forces have retaken several cities over the past 48 hours, driving the rebels back all the way towards al-brega. they'll prepare a defense line further east in ajdabiya. they're pleading for more help, specifically weapons. we just heard jay carney reiterate what the president said yesterday. no decision has been made by the u.s. on arming the rebels. it is neither ruled in nor ruled out. ben wedeman is with the forces
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in east libya. what do you make of all the dramatic developments? >> well, certainly it's quite a lot of news. you take into account the resignation of the foreign minister, plus the suggestion that the u.s. will be helping directly the rebels on the ground. certainly it will to some extent raise the morale of the rebels who have taken a beating over the last 48 hours. we watched them as they've been regrouping on the outskirts of ajdabiya. they seem to be plagued by the same problems as we've seen for many weeks now. disorganization, a lack of command and control. they don't seem to have much training with the weaponry they have, which really raises the question, if the united states does provide more advanced weaponry to the libyan rebels, in fact, one of their spokesmen today in benghazi saying they want things like tanks.
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but they really need training. they do have some tanks and some aircraft and some heavy weaponry. they need to learn basic battlefield tactics. the libyan army is running circles around them despite the no-fly zone. despite that they have taken out the armor of the libyan army in this part of the country. wolf? >> ben, the rebels have been getting arms in recent weeks, we believe from the saudis, from some other arab countries. i don't know if the u.s. authorized that or not. but they have been receiving weapons and ammunition, isn't that right? >> reporter: there has been some influx of weaponry from abroad. but it looks more like mostly ammunition and more of the same of what they already have.
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i've seen multiple rocket launchers. not much heavy artillery. some tanks are here. my suspicious is that it's mostly more ammunition. because they've been wasting an awful lot of it just shooting in the air. >> i know there's concern, ben, that since nato took over command of the air strikes for the united states and today being the first full day that nato is in charge, it looks at least to me like the pounding of gadhafi's troops, his ground forces and positions have eased. that nato is not being as intensive in the aerial strikes was as the u.s. when it was leading this operation. what have you seen today? what are you hearing in eastern libya from rebel sources and others about the degree of nato air strikes on this day?
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>> there were several air strikes in the eastern part of the country. but there's a basic -- there was a problem in the sense there's a lack of targets. initially, in fact, you can see it just up the road from here, more than a dozen tanks and other armor have been destroyed by the nato aircraft. but the libyan army seems to be changing tactics. it's no longer moving in large columns which are an easy target for the aircraft. this is just as effective. for instance, there was one ambush of the rebel forces by not a large group of libyan soldiers. and they retreated on mass as result of this ambush, which
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really wasn't staged by a large force at all. >> gadhafi's forces going from misrata to ras lanuf, al-brega. we're watching this closely. ben wedeman is on the scene for us. be careful over there. let's bring in our kepentagon correspondent chris lawrence. if the u.s. were to arm the rebels directly or incorrectly, chris, how might this be done? >> well, wolf, as long as we're talking about ifs, then if egypt were to allow it, you could literally drag it across the border. in in any case officials tell me it will require airplanes and ships. the amount of firepower that the rebels need is probably too much to take by helicopter alone. libya's seaports could be used to arm the rebels. it would have been more important 10 to 15 year.
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today all that is required is keeping the cell networks up and running. >> they need rifles. they need machine guns. >> frank anderson served 26 years in the cia, part of the afghan task force, and helped arm the fighters there. so he know what is hest he's talking about when he says -- >> you can train someone to use a soldier fire tank weapon in a matter of hours. anderson says training small unit leaders could take weeks. >> but my experience is that darwan works quickly in war. >> rebels who survive a battle learn how to stay alive and can teach that to new recruits. >> that army will grow in skill very quickly. >> but is arming rebels legal? the u.s. still has diplomatic relationships with libya's government. a government it's trying to overthrow. and there's an arms em bar go for the entire country.
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but they interpret the u.n. resolution to allow all necessary measures to protect civilians. >> this would not rule out the provision of assistance to those protecting civilians. >> but anderson offers this warning from his own experience of america's army. >> they turned out to be corrupt. and rapacious. i mean in the sense that they were literally guilty of raping citizens. and they brought on the taliban. >> anderson says in ten years of arming afghans, there were hardly any american boots on the ground. there wouldn't necessarily need to be a big cia or coalition presence in libya, but he says if it wants the rebels to succeed in a series of battles, not just spotty or here and there, he says the coalition has to fully commit to giving them enough firepower to beat back larger numbers of libyan troops.
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wolf? >> chris lawrence, thanks very much. for the last hour or so top obama officials were briefing senators in secret on the situation in libya. we'll be talking with win of the senators who just emerged from the briefing. we'll ask him what he learned. why did a scuffle in syria only moments after bashar al-assad spoke to the country. much more when we come back.
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striking development in the libya crisis today. reuters reporting he had aid to the rebels fighting gadhafi. britain saying that he has shown up in london say nounsing he's resigned and libya's rebels have been in full retreat over the past 48 hours. they are being pressed very, very hard right now by gadhafi's forces. a lot of discuss with republican senator lindsay graham of south carolina. he's a key member of the armed services committee. he's just emerged from a briefing, a closed-door briefing that top obama administration officials had on what's going on. let's go through the points, senator. a lot to digest. first, the report that the u.s. is now secretly aiding rebels. what can you tell us about this? >> well, if it's true, it's a secret from me. fwu idea of aiding the rebels pleases me. providing arms is something i'm
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not so sure about, because what you do on the front end can affect you on the back end. anything to help the rebels, i think we cast our like with them. it's comparative they win today against gadhafi. anything we can do, i would support. >> on the issue of arming the rebels, are you concerned because there could be some al qaeda elements there? is that your concern? >> you know, to be honest with you, i'm sure there are probably some people under the banner of opposition that may have some al qaeda sympathies. i have zero concern about this turning into an al qaeda-driven state. and the libyan people are not going to replace gadhafi to be run by al qaeda, but the one thing about arms, you really don't know exactly how tribal situation works yet. my feeling is we didn't have
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enough troop os the ground. we went a couple years where we almost lost iraq. my question on libya, is it possible to bring regime change if you're not going to use military force as part of the tool box. when the president took off, i think that was a big mistake. >> he said other options were on the table right now, political sanctions, economic sanctions. he didn't say covert action, but as someone who watched this over the years, that was my immediate suspicion, that there are covert operations upside way to remove moammar gadhafi. i don't know if you want to talk about that. but i assume you would be happy if they were. >> i would be happy, and i really don't know if they are, if i did, i won tell owe. at the end of the day i'm very happy with any strategy that brings about an early end to this conflict. my concern now is a stalemate. without air power, you see what happens to them. they're unorganized. they're very motivated. but at the end of the day,
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they're fighting tanks and artillery with toyota trucks. that's not a fair fight. >> when you say the u.s. should use military force to remove gadhafi, explain what that means. >> i think if you introduce western troops, american forces on the ground, you would undercut the opposition. but a campaign asking on helping the opposition. the way it is most likely is the inner circle cracks. take off the tv and radio propaganda system. take it out. go after his inner circle. to you're an inner circle adviser to gadhafi, you should have a hard time sleeping at night. i would like to take the campaign to tripoli and really go after the head of the snake and cut the head of the snake off. and my concern is that when american air power won't be used past thursday of friday, that really limits nato because they
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don't have gun ships. they don't have a-10s. >> u.s. air power can be used under the command of nato, isn't that right? >> i don't know. that's a good question. my good friend wolf blitzer ought to ask somebody. if the a-10s and american-flown missions are not part of the nato force configuration, then we have degrated nato. that's an open question. >> i agree. it already looks like with nato taking command of this operation, the pounding of gadhafi's forces has weaken dramatically over the past 24, 48 hour ls. there are countries like turkey and germany that don't want nato to engage as robustly as senator graham would like. >> well, part of it has been the weather. here is the question to ask going forward. who is the commander that sets the missions up each day, and can american forces fly under
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the nato banner, or has president obama taken that off the table. when you transfer to nato control, i'm okay with that. i'm not oak with the a-10s in american aircraft are grounded. >> that would be huge news, senator. if you're suggesting some of the weaponry are off the table, like the tomahawk cruise missiles or f-16s. that is huge. it would dramatically weaken the entire nato operation. >> my advice to the crew who has done a heck of a job covering libya, i would ask that question. i don't know the answer. when nato takes over and the president said we would turn over our military operations, does that mean our a-10s can't fly under nato command? does that mean our gun ships are now grounded? if that's the case it undermines the capability of nato.
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>> did you get answers to all your questions during a briefing that you just emerged from in behind closed doors? >> it was a good briefing. i never got to ask a question. it was over. you know, secretary clinton and bob gates are really national treasures in my view. you know, very good people. i like president obama, but we have a strategy that is eerily similar to iraq that we didn't have the right strategy to bring the right answer. the right answer so to replace gadhafi. if american military power can't be used, then we have really degraded nato. i don't see how you politically replace him if you don't have the military component to make him leave. his inner circle is not worried about sanks or bank accounts being frozen. they're sitting on a ton of cash. they're worried about having the compounds bombed by the most capable air force in the world.
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the united states air force. >> is p the president authorized, if he wants to sign a finding to kill or arrest gadhafi, is the president authorized under u.s. law to do that? >> that's a very good question. here's the advice i would give my commander. i would argue gadhafi is an unwelcomed combatant. not the leader of libya. he doesn't have the status of being a nation state leader where he would be fair game that a radio and tv network helping his unlawful enemy combatant calvary should be taken out. that's the way i would look at gadhafi. an unlawful enemy combatant. i would recognize somebody in the opposition. america needs to know more about the opposition. in some networks all you see is a guy jumping up and yelling
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with a baseball cap. there are sophisticated people leading the opposition. my advise is introduce america to the leaders of the opposition so that we will be reassured who we're dealing with here. senator graham, thanks for joining us. >> thank you. >> sounds like you would want to put gadhafi on the same list as bin laden. that's another subject for another day. senator, thank you. moammar gadhafi's young es son the commander of a brigade. he was an intern of a company in the united states not that long ago. and a marine helicopter makes an emergency landing in the ocean off hawaii. standby. we have details.
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there's been a tragic helicopter accident. kate bolduan is monitoring that and other top stories. >> this in hawaii. a u.s. marine and three others injured during an emergency helicopter landing in hawaii. military officials say the chopper landed in shallow water last night. it's unclear what caused the pilot the make the emergency landing. two of the three injured marines are in critical condition at this point. and the fwus government is offering $5 million for information in the deadly attack on a u.s. immigration agent in
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mexico. special agent jaime zapata and a colleague were ambushed last month. a group of gunmen opened fire on the car. several suspects have been arrested. the gunman mistook the agents for members of a rival drug cartel. newly released documents shed light on the man accused of assassinating martin luther king jr. little was known about his state of mind before he pled guilty. but they discovered papers related to the legal case. the material includes police photographs of ray, letters he wrote to his family members and his will. they will be posted online. it will be interesting to take a look at that. >> thanks very much. syria's president is confronted bay woman who breaks through the crowd, approaches his car. you'll find out what happens next. and moammar gadhafi's son's
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let's get back to our top story, the war in libya. one of gadhafi's son rushed home from the united states when the fighting began. going from corporate intern in the united states to a leader of an infamous army unit. brian todd is digging into details. this is an amazing story, brian. >> wolf, it involves moammar gadhafi's youngest son, who does lead a notorious brigade in libya. before the fighting broke out,
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the u.s. and libya had been reaching out to each other to improve relations. that's part of what involved an internship that moammar gadha gadhafi's son which now at the least looks a bit awkward. he's the man in the black beret, disproving rumors he was killed in an allied air strike. the youngest son of libyan leader moammar gadhafi commands the notorious 30-second brigade, known for brutality. >> this is one of gadhafi's most loyal units and one of the most active in terms of attacking innocent people. >> and here's another title he held, intern in the u.s. for a month he interned with an american engineering and construction firm called acon. the l.a.-based company had deep business dealings in libya until the uprising began. as an intern, he wasn't exactly getting people's coffee or running to the printer every ten minutes. he was jetting all over the u.s., meeting with high-tech companies, universities and with defense contractors.
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and he paid a visit to the port of houston. and he went to these places just weeks, in some cases, days before leading deadly attacks on the libyan opposition. when the fighting broke out in mid-fek, he cut short his internship and flew back to libya to oversee the 30-second brigade. the port of houston issued a statement saying he toured several port authorities and acknowledged it was part of the future deals with libya. he won't comment on his meetings there. but gadhafi also visited the air force academy, which told us he saw nothing classified. he went to the national war college, a spokesman there i sas tactics were not discussed. defense contractor lockheed martin won't confirm or deny media reports he went there. he went to the new york stock exchange and got what he called a basic tour the day he scrambled back to libya. james is a national security expert with the heritage foundation. >> recordless of the hostiles
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that would break out later, is it all right for a u.s.-based company to give an internship to someone like gadhafi? >> well, it's a qualitied okay. because it's a process of engagement. if it's toward moving the country out of being a closed society and actually reforming, you know, giving them access can move in that direction. but it's qualified. there are a couple of things that are common sense. you don't want to give away information and you don't want to give away something for nothing. >> he says most of the places gadhafi visited are savvy enough to likely not have given him any sensitive information. contacted by cnn, they did not want to put someone on camera with us. they issue ad statement saying the internship was part of the company's efforts to improve the quality of life in libya, but they never paid him, they never knew about his military connection, and that when they found about his gadhafi's role in the civil war, quote, we were stocked and jut raged. >> what is the state
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department's role. >> acon says the state department knew of and approved of all his meetings and visits in the u.s. state department officials say they didn't know of the visit. they met him hat the airport. that was the extent of it. a war college official told us a state department official was with gadhafi when he went there. a state department official countered by saying we were asked to go to the meeting. we did it as a matter of court see. there's clearly agree area here. >> we know the libyan government before the civil war erupted was spretding around a lot of money in washington, elsewhere around the country. and buying access, if you will. we've done some reports on this. i think we should do more. some people got rich here in the united states thanks to mothamm gadhafi and his regime. i think we should do more digging. >> sure thing. dashed hopes in syria as protests drove, president assad goes public but does not give in
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to serious demands for reforms. how syria's leader came to power and the lifestyle he shares with his glamorous wife. much more news happening here in "the situation room." st: uld switching to geico reallyavyou 15% or more on car insurance? host: is the pen mightier than the sword? ninja 2: ow vogeico. 15 minutes uld save you 15% or more on car insurance.
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faced with widespread protest, raging on despite a bloody crackdown, the syrian president went public but stood his ground. he offered no signs he'll make any reforms.
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president bashar al-assad made no mention of lifting the state of emergency. he blamed an international conspiracy for the unrest that has gripped syria and led to dozens of deaths. there were massive protests before and after the speech, and witnesses report fresh casualties today. and a woman rushed up to his car, waving her hand. she was restrained as a crowd # let's get a closer look right now at the man at the center of this controversy in syria, and whose family has been at the center of power in that country for more than four decades. we asked mary snow to take a closer look. mary. >> bashar al-assad was an ophthalmologist. he feels only in line to become president because his brother was killed in an accident in 1994. he studied in london.
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because of his background he took power with the hope of reform. syrian president is facing his biggest test since tags office. one big question now, will he revert to the tactics hez father used to retain power? in 1982, thousands were killed during an uprising in the city of amat. an author who spent time with them said there are similarities and differences. >> is he his father's son? >> he's much more gregarious, much more open. he's thoughtful like his father. he spentd time in the west. he likes the toys of the west. he's that computer nerd. he marry ad beautiful cosmopolitan british-raised syrian woman who is very actively, very active first lady right now. >> the first lady was dub ad
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rose in the desert in vogue magazine last month. the timing of the flattering piece which virtually ignored human rights abuses in syria grew criticism as unrest spread in the middle east. they haven't delivered substantial changes beyond some economic change. >> he's a child of the arab-israeli conflict, a child of the cold war. he's used lebanon within syrian's interest. he's the keeper of the flame of interest who have had a choke hold on power in his country for decades. >> these are a minority in syria, and their power is resented by many sunni muslims. in his inner circle, he says he wasn't allowed to interview people like younger brother, a military figure. opposition forces say he's responsible for the harsh response against dissidents in the city of iraq.
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awe former u.s. ambassador says the ruling family has been compared to the god father. >> bashar was supposed to make the family proud and become a medical doctor and go a different direction han the rest of the family. here he is president of syria and in charge of protecting his family, protecting his associates, protecting his clan. and in his eyes, protecting the country, whether others view it that way or not. >> and, wolf, as far as how bashar al-assad operates, the author who spent time with him says they like to listen to many sides of an argument. what may happen is that he'll offer half carats and some sticks without addressing the core problems of what's going on. wolf? >> we can learn more about bashar al-assad in the coming
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days and weeks. there are 63,000 tons of spent nuclear fuel in the united states. is it being properly stored? the government says yes. some nuclear experts di agree. and president obama's new energy plan. what did he announce today? so i wasn't playing much of a role in my own life. but with advair, i'm breathing better. so now, i've got the leading part. advair is clinically proven to help significantly improve lung function. unlike most copd medications, advair contains both an anti-inflammatory and a long-acting bronchodilator, working together to help improve your lung function all day. advair won't replace fast-acting inhalers for sudden symptoms and should not be used more than twice a day. people with copd taking advair may have a higher chance of pneumonia. advair may increase your risk of osteoporosis and some eye problems. tell your doctor if you have a heart condition
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international watchdogs are reporting high radiation levels outside the evacuation zone around the daiichi nuclear power plant. also a disturbing new discovery near the crippled nuclear plant in japan. officials found radiation levels in sea water 3,000 times over the regulatory limit. it's unclear in the radiation is from a leak at the plant or if it's the result of airborne radiation. in the u.s. today the head of the nuclear regulatory commission faced some pointed questions on capitol hill about
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american nuclear plants. our homeland security correspondent jeanne meserve is working the story for us. lots of folks are deeply concerned, jean. >> they are, the questions stai were about spent fuel. when spent fuel is removed from a nuclear power plant it is very hot and still radioactive. the question on capitol hill today, is there a plan to deal with it long term? the answer, no. the extraordinary danger at the fukushima daiichi plant has come in part from water in low pools containing fuel rods. congress was giving contrasting pools on whether similar pools at u.s. plants are similarly vulnerable. >> it's thick reinforced concrete structures. generally four to five feet thick walls with very thick floors. so they provide, we think, a robust protection. >> the pools are often housed in buildings with sheet metal siding, like that in a sears
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storage shed. i have nothing against the quality of sears storage sheads, but they're not suitable for nuclear waste storage. >> because spent fuel is very hot and radio active when it comes out, the nuclear regulatory commission says it must go into a cooling pool for five years. but there's no rule on when it had to come out and be stored in less vulnerable casts like this. >> fuel removed from reactors in 1984 is still cooling in wet, spent fuel pools. >> the nuclear industry says the federal government must come up with a national strategy so operators know whether to put used fuel in permanent on-site casts or one that can be moved to a depository. >> we want to limit the number of times we handle used fuel. we want to take it out once and
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have it go where it can go. >> the obama administration put a stake through the heart of a planned national nuclear waste facility in nevada. it's part of a long pattern of kicking the additional issue of nuclear waste down the road. >> for the history of the nuclear power program, i would say the storage, storage of spent fuel has been an afterthought. >> a blue ribbon commission is exploring long-term solutions for disposing of radioactive waste. the report is due this sum ir. spent fuel keeps piling up according to the union of concerned scientists. at some nuclear facilities there's ten times more nuke la material in spent fuel pools than in reactors. >> a good reason for people to be concerned. president obama unveils his new energy plan today, and it includes dramatic cuts to oil imports.
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president obama rolled out a new energy plan today addressing the future of nuclear power and america's dependence on foreign oil. dan lothian is joining us from the white house. dan, what exactly is the president now proposing? >> reporter: well, wolf, the president wants to cut the import of important oil by a third by the year 2025, also wants to push for increased use of natural gas and buses and trucks and despite what is going on in japan he's still committed
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to nuclear energy as part of the overall policy. but critics are skeptical of the president's promises. as rising gas prices put more strain on the wallets of americans, president obama pushed his energy policy looking to reduce foreign oil dependence and expand alternative sources. >> there are no quick fixes. anybody who tells you otherwise isn't telling you the truth. and we will keep on being a victim to shifts in the oil market until we finally get serious about a long-term policy for a secure, affordable energy future. >> reporter: but americans have heard this message before from democrats and republicans. >> comprehensive plan for reducing america's dependence on foreign oil. >> america is in the lead when it comes to energy independence. >> reporter: remember president jimmy carter during the gas crunch of the '70s. >> our excessive dependence on
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opec has already taken a tremendous toll on our economy and our people. >> reporter: but a sweeping solution has been elusive because the politics of any energy policy is complicated and controversial. the ink was barely dry on the president's speech and they were labeling it fake solutions. >> the president is telling people what he thinks they want to hear. >> reporter: senator mcconnell said it was blamed on declaring a moratorium on drilling off the gulf coast and the u.s. petroleum industry said it was ready to produce more oil and more jobs if the government would only give more green lights. >> we've gotten a lot of lip service, but the actions are inconsistent with what's being said. so we hope today is really a course correction. >> reporter: president obama acknowledged the skepticism but touted progress on new leases and investments in new energy sources. and his energy team said advanced technology and government spending will help
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the president's new policy succeed. >> first and foremost the recovery act we had an historic investment in clean energy development and research. >> reporter: now republicans and other critics have jumped on comments the president recently made in latin america talking about how the u.s. wants to help brazil develop its offshore oil reserves and become one of its best customers while secretary chu said the president is committed to domestic production. >> jeanne moos with a most unusual look at what these little twins are saying. ♪ stay inside? nah. not when you have a five-star overall vehicle score for safety. one more reason chevy traverse delivers more.
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twin baby brothers holding an animated conversation with each other in their own baby language. here's a question, what were they actually saying? there are lots of terrys out there. let's go to cnn's jeanne moos. >> reporter: if you haven't heard the talking twin babies by now, you haven't been listening. >> da, da, da. >> reporter: their mom put the video on her blog. it ended up on youtube. now they've raised baby talk to an art. >> da, da, da, da. >> reporter: but now talk has turned to what they're saying. >> they're not really saying anything. they're just babbling. >> da, da, da. >> ah, da, da, da. >> they're imitating each other so one is perpetuating the babbling in the other. >> reporter: dr. harriet klein
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is an expert in speech development but those who respect are supplying their own subtitles. most people seem to think they were talking about socks. >> da, da, da. >> ah, da, da, da. >> ah. >> da, da, da. >> reporter: or maybe they were talking about current events, a certain snake escape. >> da, da. >> da, da, da. >> ah, da, da. >> reporter: others seemed disturbed by the babbling. [ dog howling ] >> reporter: there have been cases of twins who did seem to develop their own private lingo. there was a documentary made about twins in california who spoke their own language until the age of 8 or so. the two didn't have much adult interaction and picked up a combo of english spoken by their dad in german by their grandmother.
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♪ >> reporter: the parents of the youtube twins have shied away from too much publicity. >> da, da, da, da, da. >> da, da, da. >> da, da, da, da. >> reporter: actually it's more like millions if you count tv and web views. >> i think they were talking about libya, i think. >> reporter: someone else had the same idea in this mash-up with dutch subtitles. >> da, da, da, da. [ speaking a foreign language ] >> reporter: these two don't just imitate each other's babbling, they do simultaneous head stands and we can only imagine what they do if they found that escaped cobra. >> da, da, da, da, da. ah, da, da, da. >> reporter: as one person posted "nominee for best foreign language film." >> da, da, da. >> reporter: jeanne moos, cnn, new york.